Mica calls Boxer his 'soul mate' in defense of his highway bill role

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The "soul mate" Mica referred to, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), has been less effusive about the chamber through which Mica is trying to pass the transportation bill.

"It seems that under this Republican leadership, which is so extreme, they don't even want to reach their hand out to any Democrats as they look at the expiration of our transportation program," Boxer said in a news conference this week.

For his part, Boxer "hasn’t been too bad to work with," Mica told the Ripon Society.

"She’s gotten her bill through the Senate," he said.

Just as quickly, though, Mica attacked the Senate version of the transportation bill.

"It’s not the bill that I want," he said. "It’s lacking. It’s a two-year bill — $54.5 billion. The money runs out in 18 months, and I just got a report from staff that there is a $5 billion miscalculation there. They are short in financing it. And then you bankrupt the trust fund.  Is that responsible?   I don’t think so. Does it get people to work? No, it’s not what we really need now.”

Mica and other Republican leaders have maintained they will use the extra time granted by the short-term extension, if it is passed by the House and accepted by the Senate, to craft a version of a highway bill that is closer to their original $260 billion measure.

“I don’t want to pass just a highway bill," he said. "They passed just a highway bill and that’s the wrong thing to do. You need to have a multi-modal approach."